I had only known my mother-in-law, Becky, for a short time. It was obvious from first blush that she was a warm and “easy to talk to” lady. Actually she never stops talking but that’s a good thing when you’re the new guy and terribly uncomfortable.
It was the first Christmas at their house for me. Christmas … and it was 75 degrees in Jacksonville, Fla. I had been working in the cold rain all month in North Carolina. Becky had called one day and asked how I was doing. I said that I was wet, cold and busy. “I really don’t have time to talk right now, Becky”. I don’t think I was rude but as can be my way, especially when working, I was, no doubt a bit brusque.
Fast forward to the following Christmas morning as wrapping paper flies everywhere. Each person eagerly explores his or her Santa Claus booty.
“OOOhhh. …. AHHH … Just what I wanted! Thanks Grand Ma … Big Daddy.” Over to the side, I was busy extracting a black raincoat with a red flannel lining from a tissue filled box that had been carefully wrapped in red and green. I seem to remember holding it up with both hands and having to consciously close my gaping mouth as I gazed up at it in the glaring light.
For some reason I was somewhat confused. The only thing I knew to do to show my appreciation, other than mumble, “Thank you”, was to try it on. The moment I donned that flannel-lined jacket over cargo shorts and tank top, I started sweating like a pig. I was red faced and a little perplexed that this petite and yes, somewhat aggravatingly eccentric lady had gone searching for a warm raincoat in the tropical Jacksonville heat.